MBA Newsletter Autumn 2014

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Milgard School of Business MBA Newsletter Autumn 2014 Vol V(I)

In this issue:


Message from the MBA Director

I am happy to present to you the Autumn 2014 newsletter. In this issue, we feature Professor Haluk Demirkan, Executive Director of the Center for Information Based Management and some current students and alumni. We have added a new feature wherein we showcase extended abstracts of recent faculty publications. I hope you enjoy reading these write-ups.

The program welcomed 21 students to our Purple (Autumn) cohort. It is indeed a very impressive group with more than 10 years of average work experience. Employees of several companies from our area are represented in the student mix: Boeing, Microsoft, Russell Investments, St. Joseph’s Medical Center, and the US Army to name a few. Admissions processing is underway for our Gold (Winter) cohort.

I look forward to seeing you at the quarterly TGIF’s, at MBAA events or at our quarterly executive speaker series. We have taken steps to add some more jazz to our already popular executive speaker series. Starting Autumn, we host a reception which starts about 45 minutes before the speaking event. We hope you can come to these events. Wishing you and yours’ a merry holiday season and a happy new year.

Eugene Sivadas

MBA Alumni Profile: Noah Schmidt, MBA '14, BABA Finance '07

The small classroom sizes, flexible evening schedules, and the diverse content of the program first attracted Noah to the Milgard School of Business for his undergraduate degree, but it was the level of preparedness and overall experience that brought him back to get his MBA. What surprised Noah most when he returned to the MBA program was the strong cohort of diverse professionals that created a high standard of excellence.

Noah has been with the company Russell for six years and has enjoyed being able to help individuals and companies achieve their financial goals. While being very work-oriented is good, it has made it hard for Noah to see the company as a whole. Going through the MBA program has greatly helped overcome that obstacle because now Noah understands how all the parts fit together to form the big picture. This ability to step back, along with a multitude of other soft skills, are learned throughout the MBA program and are vital to Noah’s future progression and success. Having an MBA has allowed Noah to contribute to his work by bringing new experiences and insight to the daily challenges. His dedication to return to school has demonstrated to others the importance of continuous learning and preparing for future opportunities.

When asked what advice Noah would give to a new MBA student he responded with a simple: “Participate”. This one word resonates with meaning because an MBA is about improving your overall ability to communicate and take ideas from the classroom into the work place. The more involved in the program and the learning you are, the better you will be. Noah doesn’t find himself having much spare time because other things are constantly demanding his time and attention. However time consuming, Noah stresses the important of not letting other things get in the way of graduating with an MBA because it is greatly benefits your future.


MBA Student Profile: Nicole Ferrin, degree anticipated '15

Nicole Ferrin graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in 2010 with a Bachelors of Business Administration concentrated in Accounting. She knew at the end of her freshman year that accounting was the major for her. Shortly after graduating, she began her professional career at Boeing where she started as part of an accounting group that reviewed the financial statements of current Boeing suppliers. Her next position was that of a financial analyst where she got the opportunity to travel to Taipei and Hong Kong in order to discuss service offerings and pricing. In her next position as part of investor relations, she switched roles and supported the commercial side of business. Currently, Nicole is in financial planning and is responsible for supporting the long range business plan as well as assessing opportunities and risks to the monthly forecasts. When asked what she enjoys about working for Boeing she replied, “I find Boeing to be a very exciting and rewarding place to work…because there are so many opportunities within the company to try new things and to develop in my career”.

Finding the leadership aspect of her career highly valuable, Nicole decided to go back to school. The small class size and reputable reputation of UW Tacoma and the Milgard MBA Program attracted her here – not to mention being a Husky! One of the most surprising features of the MBA Program so far is that Nicole is able to use much of what she has already learned in the classroom to help her career, including communication, group work, and negotiating.

Because of her recent engagement, Nicole spends most of her time outside of school planning her wedding - which is set for September of next year! Her and her fiancée, Mark, are also sports fanatics and follow as many Seahawks, Mariners, and Husky games as they can. When asked what advice she would give to beginning MBA students she stressed the importance of finding a group you work well with and sticking with them. She also suggested attending as many MBAA and networking events as possible because the benefits of meeting other cohorts and alumni far outweigh the costs.

Faculty Research Abstracts
Dr. Haluk Demirkan, "Why Do So Many Analytics Projects Still Fail? Key Considerations for Deep Analytics on Big Data for Deep Learning”
Dr. Rupinder Jindal, “Evaluating and Managing Brand Repurchase across Multiple Geographic Retail Markets”
Dr. Altaf Merchant, “How Strong is the Pull of the Past? Measuring Personal Nostalgia Evoked by Advertising”

MBA Faculty Profile-Dr. Haluk Demirkan

After 11 years teaching at Arizona State University, Dr. Demirkan started a new journey at the University of Washington Tacoma to foster data and analytics-enabled decision making and sustainable innovations. He joined the Milgard school in September 2013 and became the Executive Director of the  Center of Information Based Management (CIBM).Haluk Demirkan moved to the US in 1991 from Turkey. His very first paid job was in high school working at a chocolate retail store. Before entering his academic profession, Dr. Demirkan worked at companies like AT&T Bell Labs, Citi Bank and Micro Strategy.  He continues to collaborate with industry partners, strongly believing that industry provides the impetus for research. Partnering with industry to test innovative theories and methodologies validates research and offers opportunities to solve industry and societal problems.

Currently, he is evolving his “business analytics” and “service innovation” research themes to “digital service innovations” with billions of digital devices he feels there is an emergent need.

Along with his research and teaching, as the Executive Director of CIBM, Dr. Demirkan has many responsibilities. Just recently, he co-developed and proposed a 1-year Master of Science degree in business analytics for the UWTacoma.

Aside from his teaching career, Dr. Demirkan spends time with his family and enjoys running and hiking outdoors. Dr. Demirkan thinks of himself as a ‘professional student’ with his two master’s degrees and a dual degree PhD. While he was working full time, he worked on his graduate degrees for almost 9 years. In 2014, Dr. Demirkan was selected as the fifth leading researcher in the world by the Association of Information Systems sanctioned research ranking. His advice for current MBA students includes few key things: be continuous learner, education should not stop after graduating from a school; join a non-profit professional organization, it will help you to come out of your cubicle; and be innovative thinker, innovation makes the world better place to live.

Autumn Quarter Executive Speaker Series: Tom Everill, CEO Northwest Center

Our Autumn quarter Executive Speaker, Tom Everill spent the evening of October 23rd, discussing the revolutionary idea that embracing people of all abilities is the vital next step in our world of change. Northwest Center is an organization that has been creating social justice for people with developmental disabilities for 50 years. This radically different company was first formed in the 1960’s by parents of children who were turned away from the public school system. After that, the slow process of societal change began.

Since their beginning, Northwest Center has owned and operated businesses whose profits go back to the Northwest Center to support their programs.  Currently Northwest Center owns and operates 10 businesses, which they refer to as Social Enterprises.  Their businesses reflect the Northwest Center mission by being inclusive work places that employ and serve individuals of all abilities.  Northwest Center speaks inclusion in their privatized education system. Tom Everill introduced a student from the Northwest Kids – Katie – who had a condition that prevented her from walking and caused delays for learning and socialization. Despite this condition, not only did she steal our hearts, but with the help of her therapist and the supportive environment of the preschool has allowed Katie to learn to walk. Another prominent example of inclusion and diversity being successful business practices was demonstrated in the holiday season of 2013. A Northwest Center business partnered with Starbucks Company to package 1.1 million Holiday Gift Packs last Christmas season and the task of performing a 12-pt quality inspection on each unit was assigned to  Chance, an Autistic employee with amazing attention to detail. At the end of the season the Operations Department of Starbucks reported an unprecedented perfect quality score. Everill went on to give more eye-opening examples of companies embracing diversity and witnessing the incredible, transformative results. The revolutionary idea of including people of all abilities in the workplace holds the potential to create a very strong competitive advantage for companies. The role Northwest Center plays is leading this shift in society. Realizing that change is a slow, difficult process does not hinder the people at Northwest Center from believing in a bright future for all abilities. Tom Everill’s passion and dedication made the evening not only enjoyable, but also memorable.

For more information on Northwest Center visit

Upcoming Events
MBA Association 2nd Annual Holiday Event, December 12th at 6:00pm

Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. in Tacoma, WA at 6:00pm. Bring a date if you like, and join us for a drinks, great company, and some holiday cheer! Guests will also enjoy a presentation on the brewery, and discover how the current owners have revived the company nearly 100 years after it was shut down during prohibition.

Space is limited!  Please RSVP to and include:
Your name
Dates name (if applicable)
Relationship to the Milgard MBAA (current student, alumni, faculty, advisor, friend of Milgard MBAA)
Graduation year (if applicable)Email address

Winter Quarter Executive Speaker Series, February 5th

Join the Milgard School of Business MBA for our Winter Quarter Speaker
Birger Steen, CEO of Parallels
5:45 PM reception KEY 102
6:30 PM presentation begins KEY 102


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The Milgard School of Business at the University of Washington, Tacoma is accredited by the AACSB and the MBA program is ranked by US News.  The school offers undergraduate, MBA, Master of Accounting, and Master of Cybersecurity & Leadership (in collaboration with the Institute of Technology) programs.